The three surviving crewmembers of a Taiwanese fishing boat that was attacked by Philippine Coast Guard personnel in May arrived in Manila yesterday day to testify on the death of their colleague in the attack.
The three crewmembers — Hung Yu-chih (洪育智), Hung Chieh-shang (洪石成) and Indonesian fisherman Imam Buchaeri — were summoned by the Philippine government to testify at an investigative hearing on the case, said Chen Feng-fu (陳峰富), a lawyer who is accompanying the trio.
In the May 9 incident, Philippine Coast Guard personnel fired on Hung’s boat while it was operating in waters where the two countries’ exclusive economic zones overlap, killing Hung Yu-chih’s father, Hung Shih-cheng.
After investigating the attack, the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Aug. 7 recommended homicide charges for eight Coast Guard personnel involved in the shooting.
The Philippines Department of Justice then assembled a team of prosecutors to handle the case.
The prosecutors are holding investigative hearings to help determine if they will follow the NBI’s recommendations and indict the suspects. The testimony of the three crewmen in their capacity as witnesses and victims is a necessary part of the process.
Chen said the crewmembers would respect Philippine judicial procedures and would appear at the hearing this afternoon to confirm that the testimony they gave in Taiwan was accurate and that it was given of their own volition.
Had they failed to show up, it could have led to a delay in the proceedings since prosecutors would have had to reschedule the questioning sessions.
The team of prosecutors will decide whether to indict the Philippine suspects within 60 days after collecting evidence and testimonies related to the case.